The purpose of this systematic overview was to determine the most effective mode and dose of physical activity (PA) for treating major depressive disorder (MDD), and to suggest guidelines and recommendations for clinicians. The selection process consisted of a comprehensive search that was conducted up until April 2014 in the following databases: PsycINFO, Medline, PubMed and Scopus. The inclusion criteria were: (1) a randomized controlled trial (RCT) design, (2) complete description of intensity, duration and frequency of the PA, (3) the participants had to be diagnosed with MDD according to Diagnostic Statistical Manual 4 th edition (DSM-IV) or International Classification of Disease tenth Revision (ICD-10) criteria (4) if the controls received any treatment, it had to be specified, (5) published after 1990, (6) consist of aerobic or anaerobic treatment PA, and (7) not be a pilotor preliminary study. A quality assessment of each study was conducted independently by two reviewers; this stringent selection process resulted in 12 reviewed studies.
Conclusion: individually customized PA, for at least 30 minutes, preferably performed under supervision and with a frequency of at least three times per week is recommended when treating MDD. These recommendations must be viewed in light of the relatively few studies matching the inclusion criteria.
Keywords: RCT; depression; major depression; physical activity; treatment.